All posts by Larry Chapman

A retired educator, historian, writer, blogger, teller of tales including the occasional lie, saltwater angler, traveler, political junkie, technology geek, optimist, pessimist, wanna' be chef, and lover of independent thinkers. 2011 recipient of the Professor Irwin Corey Foremost Authority Award and resident curmudgeon of Worley Mill Rd.

Friends Don’t Let Friends….

If you were around in the 1980s you probably heard something about the Yugoslavian made car, the Yugo. It was a typical European hatchback, reminding me of the VW Rabbit I owned in the mid-1970s. A big difference being, the Rabbit is still manufactured, under the name Golf, and is considered one of the world’s great compact cars. On the other hand, the Yugo was and remains, the car with arguably the world’s worst reputation.  It was reputed to be so bad, the saying went, that friends didn’t let friends drive Yugos.

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Today’s Government Lesson; The Electoral College

Ultimately there were thirty-nine white, mostly educated, mostly wealthy, and mostly propertied men who signed the US Constitution in 1787. In spite of this commonality they differed in many ways, one of which was how much power the typical American citizen should have.

How trustworthy was the common man when it came to making correct political choices for the nation? Should each man’s vote count the same as another man’s vote? The answer to this question is what gave us this thing we call the Electoral College.

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Does the Roberts’ Court Respect Rule of Law?

There is no arguing that the far-right wing of the Republican Party has kidnapped that party as well as any respect for the “rule of law” in the US Supreme Court. Under the leadership of radical Senate Republicans such as Mitch McConnell and Lindsey Graham, today’s 5-4 Court majority is as ideologically out of step with Constitutional norms and precedent as with any time in my life.

Obviously I’m not the only one who feels this. Just this past week a long time member of the Supreme Court Bar, Judge James Dannenberg, submitted his resignation along with a strongly worded letter of condemnation of Chief Justice John Roberts and the conservative majority.

Dannenberg’s letter is a document that should be read and understood by every American adult. For the complete text, CLICK HERE. 

Mutton Mutton, Who’s Got The Mutton?

Back in 2005, I was deeply involved in searching for the best BBQ in America and had heard Owensboro, KY mentioned several times. What got that town mentioned so often was it is in Davis County in Western Kentucky and when the locals say BBQ they’re often referring to mutton or mature sheep.

I did a little research and learned that the soil and terrain of that area are well suited for raising sheep and the people who settled it came from parts of Europe that were heavy into raising and eating sheep. Well before this I had learned that BBQ is a somewhat regional thing. In Texas it’s beef. In Western North Carolina it’s pork shoulders while in the Eastern part of the state it’s the whole hog. Memphis is ribs and Columbia, SC is fresh ham.

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Cincinnati Style Chili

Texas has brisket, the Carolinas have whole hog, and Lousiana has crawfish. They are famous for these regional foods and people from all over the world come to partake. So, what does Ohio have? I’ve often asked that question and finally decided, well hell, we have Cincinnati chili and it’s unlike chili anyplace else in America, maybe the world! It’s unique, it’s flavorful, and it comes five-ways, which is something Texas doesn’t give you with brisket.

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Hand Sanitizer & Krugerrands

I woke up this morning and turned on the TV. As usual Morning Joe was on and the speculation meter was running at 98%. I listened for a little news and learned the conversation was dominated by two things, the virus, and the plunging Dow Jones.

Apparently, the viral threat continues to grow and there is talk of closing down Congress to help protect the mostly old white men who comprise its membership, Ted Cruz and some dude from Arizona are going into self-isolation to help keep their constituents back home from catching the bug. I’m guessing the real reason is to help keep their asses at least six feet away from anyone they may need to bump elbows with.

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Ruins of Greenfield Past

I recently found myself in the area that was once the location of the McClain Mansion and decided to snap a few photos of what remains still exists. When I was a kid in the late ’40s and ’50s all that remained was the iron fencing along Washington Street, the entrance steps, the exposed basement, and some sidewalks. Off of 4th Street, there was the wooden home of the McClain’s chauffer and an attached multi-car garage.

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Unplugging Day – Could You Have Done It?

First Friday of March is National Day of Unplugging.

Well, we won’t have to concern ourselves with it since it’s over. But, Friday was the National Day of Unplugging and participants were asked to totally unplug. To not use anything that included the use of any kind of screen. No cell phone, no tablet, no laptop, no desktop, no TV, no backup camera, no GPS, no camera with a digital viewfinder, absolutely nothing that uses a screen. Could you do such for a period of 24-hours without cheating? Discuss.

 

The World Before Amazon, Wilknit & Boatman

I had coffee with a fellow Greenfielder recently and he mentioned a person who ran a mailorder business selling hunting dog equipment and remarked how this guy was ahead of his time. The company was Boatman’s and for several decades it sold, among many other things, a powerful flashlight, Dynalite, specifically aimed at coon hunters.

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Understanding What Socialism Is

This is the meme that started it all. I checked the validity of the words this is an accurate accounting of something Harry Truman once said.

I’ve started this blog several times. My goal each time was to provide a simple definition and explanation of America’s mixed economic system and where socialism has always played a part. My motivation came from a meme that a friend posted on Facebook and that a friend of theirs took to task.

Every time I began writing, however, I ended up with something the size of War and Peace and may be as confusing as Frank Herbert’s, Dune.

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A Few Words About African American Entertainment

For this final day of Black History Month, I went to blackfacts.com looking for a topic. I quickly noticed that Hattie McDaniel became the first black actor to win an Academy Award on this day in 1940. McDaniel won the Oscar for her performance of Mammy in Gone With the Wind.

As I began writing about her the names of other black performers who’d became famous playing racially stereotypical characters came to mind and I went to YouTube and watched some videos of Stepin Fetchit, Pigmeat Markum, Moms Mabley, and Eddie Anderson.  I’m old enough to remember when these people performed on radio and in the movies and that I remember them as really being funny. Such is not the case today. I think with age and education our awareness and sensitivity have been attuned to what was behind it all and how offensive it must have been for those who were forced to make their livings from playing these parts.

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